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Animal activists disrupt Sea World dolphin and seal shows

Animal activists disrupt Sea World dolphin and seal shows
December 15, 2018

Sea World has been forced to cancel two of its performing dolphin shows and a seal show during a dramatic day which saw groups of animal rights activists invading pools at the Gold Coast theme park as part of a co-ordinated protest.

Groups of activists from the Justice for Captives organisation targeted Saturday morning's dolphin show on the Gold Coast, unfurling banners saying ‘Animals are not entertainment’, ‘Google Blackfish’, ‘Dolphins belong in the ocean’ and ‘Captivity is cruelty’.

Initially, Sea World halted the show "temporarily" while 10 demonstrators who targeted the 11.15am show and were escorted out of the Queensland marine park by security.

Later another eight activists then interrupted the performance with a pair of protesters entering the pool carrying signs, with an announcement to spectators that "due to unforeseen circumstances it has become necessary to cancel this show”.

In the video, spectators are seen heckling and booing the protesters and cheering their removal from the site.

Later, a third group of 10 demonstrators who targeted the performing seal show were removed from the park by plain clothes Police. The mid-afternoon dolphin show was also cancelled when a further 15 protesters halted the event with several arrests were made.

The protest group's Facebook page shows videos of the protest, along with a statement "today has been a very successful day for Justice for Captives, we are very pleased with how we have conducted ourselves."

In a statement, Sea World management said the shows were ended early after safety concerns, advising “we welcome constructive and professional dialogue with activist groups in a respectful manner, and find the tactics of this group unprofessional and dangerous not only to themselves but to the animals and guests.

"We are currently working with the authorities to take the appropriate actions.

"Sea World is very proud of its world-class exhibits for dolphins and seals.

"It is pleasing to have the support of our guests, who cheered when the group was escorted out of the presentations.

"While we are aware that some people do not support the idea of animals in human care, we are proud of our passionate team, our world-class facilities and our position as a global community leader in conservation and education."

Sea World has faced pressure to end its animal shows with activists mistakenly associating the attraction with the US-based SeaWorld Entertainment, whose marine parks in the USA were the subject of the documentary Blackfish.

In addition, the 2009 documentary film The Cove, which questions dolphin hunting and capture in Japan has drawn the ire of animal rights activists.

Reports on the ABC and Fairfax media also confuse Australia’s Sea World with SeaWorld Entertainment.

On its website, Sea World highlights its extensive marine conservation activities explaining that three of its key dolphins are ones that would not have survived on their own in the ocean.

Publisher's note: We do not normally comment on news we publish, preferring to present impartial and factual information, but in this matter it is appropriate to give a view on what we see as misguided protests.

Sea World on the Gold Coast, a division of Village Roadshow, has no affiliation with US-based SeaWorld Entertainment, the subject of the Blackfish documentary. It also does not take dolphins or other marine life for its displays from the wild.

Indeed, many of the marine life exhibits at Sea World are mammals and creatures that have been rescued or that have been bred in captivity.

In addition, Sea World has an impressive record in the rescue and rehabilitation of injured and endangered marine life, as can be seen in the several of the news items below.

Protest is a wonderful and fundamental democratic right but sometimes it can be misguided. Rather like students at Pennsylvania State University in the USA who, in 2011, protested and rioted over the firing of gridiron football coach Joe Paterno. Paterno had been fired following allegations that he covered up the actions of a serial child molester on the Penn State coaching staff.

Ask what was the bigger issue, the loss of a sporting coach or the allegations of the covering up of child abuse?

Images: Animal activists protest during Sea World's dolphin show today. (Facebook: Justice For Captives)

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-owner / Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-owner and publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

As of 2020, he has launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

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15th April 2017 - Coffs Harbour dolphin attraction facing court for ‘misleading’ animal welfare claims

9th April 2017 - Japanese aquariums quit industry body over Taiji cove dolphin ban

28th February 2017 - South Korean authorities investigate aquaria following dolphin death

27th February 2017 - Sea World Polar Bears highlight conservation cause on International Polar Bear Day

11th February 2017 - Animal rights protesters disrupt Sea World dolphin show

6th December 2016 - Sea World Rescue Team rehabilitates injured dolphin

30th September 2016 - Sea World and University of Queensland dugong research identifies importance of habitat protection

14th May 2016 - Queensland Government backs Sea World’s marine mammal conservation work

4th November 2015 - Sea World Rescue Team Rehabilitates Dolphin

3rd June 2015 - Creatures of the deep surface at Sea World

7th January 2015 - Animal rights campaigners target Sea World dolphins

6th June 2011 - Sea World Manager features in whale documentary

29th March 2010 - Baby Dolphin Thrives at Sea World

7th April 2009 - Sea World Icon receives Industry Excellence Award

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